Dean Martin taking the art world by storm

Dean Martin taking the art world by storm

"I was a young lad covered from the neck down in tattoos. Untrained, my face never fit, so I gave up." That was until Wishbone took Dean under their wing, just one year ago…

As a self-taught artist with no formal training, Dean shrugs off discussing his technique, saying he 'picks a brush, mixes up some paint and just goes for it'. His quick-thinking modernist attitude is reflected in his work as he receives inspiration from current affairs. 

"I wake up in the morning, flick the news on and something will click into my head," he says. From bunny rabbits and fashion, endangered animals with guns and Jeremy Corbyn peeling off a mask to reveal a member of the IRA, Dean's artwork covers an astonishing scope of politics, fashion and breaking news headlines.

 With the skill to draw a photographic quality image with a pencil, Dean has never looked away from black and white. 

"Currently, I'm working with acrylic," he says. "I could be doing it all wrong in the eyes of an art graduate, but it works for me." Dean's palette comprises three greys and a white and begins with his striking, coloured background. Each piece is unique, but the process is relatively similar, starting with a bright, stunning background colour and growing into sketches, then grey and white acrylics. 

Dean Martin artist

With such a limited palette of colours, it's incredible how Dean encapsulates all of his varied pieces with such detail and intricacy. But averaging around 15 hours a day in his home studio, it's no surprise that the work is so exceptional. The artwork transforms from a blank canvas to Artmarket Gallery showcase-ready in about five days. However, time is of the essence with Dean as he keeps selling his paintings before they are even finished!!

Following a controversial media backlash over a high profile client, Dean was inundated with death threats, abusive social media interaction and struggled to find the confidence to exhibit his work. Artists refused to exhibit alongside him until his good friend Mason Storm placed his artwork alongside Banksy at an exhibition in London. This ignited a spark in Dean's work: "It's not every day you get to exhibit alongside Banksy." 

Dean's story is not all success. Years ago he took his images into a gallery and watched them place the artwork into a drawer, but today, he has 'connections to the best galleries in the country' and honours Robert and Michelle at the Artmarket Gallery for displaying his work and unfolding his first-ever gallery experience into something unforgettable.

The Mad Artist, Bunny Girl

Banksy and Mason Storm are two of Dean's biggest inspirations. In fact, Mason Storm is the only artist on Dean's walls. While Dean speculated on rumours over the identity of Banksy (he swore me to secrecy to never print!). He too said if money was no object the piece of art he would love hanging on his wall is Devolved Parliament by Banksy. This came as no surprise to me since Dean features politics and political leaders in his work. "I don't vote, I don't trust none of them" he says, and progresses to open up about the grief he receives from his controversial paintings, especially those of political substance. How does Dean respond to this criticism? By painting more…

Dean pays homage to his publisher, Wishbone Publishing, for his success. Having only signed with them for a year, Dean says: "Before I signed to Wishbone I was an artist in limbo." 

He would paint anything from political figures, gangsters and animals to landscapes and graffiti and felt he had no direction. Wishbone's offer was something he couldn't refuse, and now he proudly paints for one of the most significant publishing companies in Europe. He emphasises how honoured he feels to be a member of Wishbone Publishing and has fallen back in love with art and painting. "It's a dream come true." Wishbone, he says, has "finally given me a direction, the right direction and channels to help my work." 

The Artmarket Gallery hosted Dean's very first gallery exhibition last month. The event had a fantastic reception and allowed Dean's work to be showcased for people who had travelled far and wide to meet the man behind the art. "I would just like to thank the Artmarket Gallery for hosting my first major exhibition. I couldn't have asked for a bigger or better gallery to hold my first exhibition. It looked stunning: I couldn't believe it. It was a night I will never forget, a huge success. I cannot thank the Artmarket enough."

Back to blog